OREANDA-NEWS. Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that its Executive Board and Works Council jointly ratified the company's Equal Opportunity Charter. At the Merck Works Councils Conference in Wiesbaden, Germany, an official document was signed by a group consisting of Executive Board Member Kai Beckmann, Chief Diversity Officer Jennifer O'Lear, Chairperson of the Group Works Council Crocifissa Attardo, Vice Chairperson of IG BCE Edeltraud Glanzer, Chairman of the Darmstadt/Gernsheim Works Council Michael Fletterich, and Jurgen Glaser, District Manager of the IG BCE Darmstadt. In taking this step, Merck is bolstering its efforts in the fight against all forms of exclusion and discrimination.

"By signing the Equal Opportunity Charter, we are underscoring our commitment to fairness and tolerance in the workplace," says Beckmann. "We have been dedicated to diversity, acceptance and inclusion for many years, and today we are sending yet another important signal."

"The members of the Works Council view equal opportunity as a fundamental right that is absolutely essential to fairness in our company," said Attardo. "We are pleased to be working hand-in-hand with the Executive Board towards this objective, to be jointly committing ourselves to this declaration."

By signing this charter, the parties are promising to exploit every possible opportunity to achieve gender equality within the company. It covers action areas such as jobs that ensure a sustainable livelihood, working hours geared to each employee's respective stage of life, equal career opportunities, equal compensation for men and women, more women in management positions, and the creation of women's networks.

For years, Merck has been working to make diversity and equality of opportunity a living part of its corporate culture. This commitment is stipulated in both Merck's Charter on Diversity as well as its Code of Conduct, which provides a binding framework to guide all employees in ethical conduct.

In its pursuit of equal opportunity, Merck has already launched various initiatives and programs such as MyWork@Merck, which allows employees maximum flexibility in deciding when and where they work.

"Merck offers good opportunities to both male and female employees," says O'Lear. "This is exemplified by the fact that we've already achieved our original target for the percentage of management positions held by women, which increased from 22% in 2010 to 26% in 2014. On the Supervisory Board, more than 30% of the seats are held by women. We intend to continue along on this path," adds O'Lear.